Donation Keeps Ellisland Young at Heart

School visits to Robert Burns’ farm near Dumfries will be free with subsidised travel costs, thanks to a grant from the Holywood Trust.

The £69,296 boost will partly fund three jobs for young people in heritage and tourism at Ellisland Museum and Farm near Dumfries.

The young Ellisland team, Caitlin MacLeod, 24, Sarah White, 23 and Georgia Watson, 21, celebrated the good news this month with Holywood Trust Chair Clara Weatherall and Director Karen Ward-Boyd, who presented a symbolic cheque.

The donation allows Ellisland to continue an education programme based on the Curriculum for Excellence used in Scottish schools. Teachers should contact Ellisland now to book their class or school visit.

As well as history and literature, pupils can learn about drama, agriculture, food production and environmental issues. Hands-on activities include butter making workshops that use methods similar to those of Burns’ young wife Jean Armour, who ran a dairy on the farm in the late 1700s.

Joan McAlpine, Project Director at The Robert Burns Ellisland Trust said:

“The Holywood Trust’s generosity is in the spirit of Burns, who loved children and valued education highly. He was only 29 when he came here and Jean was 23 – so it’s fitting that our future rests on young shoulders. The grant has already allowed us to hold a family fun day which was enjoyed by scores of children and helped us achieve our museum accreditation. It will also ensure we have enough staff capacity to prepare a lottery application to hopefully secure the site’s longer term future.

“Georgia, is a Dumfries and Galloway girl who recently graduated from university in Edinburgh and this funding allows her to begin an interesting career close to home. Sarah is also local and an Open University student while Caitlin came to us from Glasgow after her post graduate in Museum Education. Keeping and attracting young talent is so important for the future of our region.”

“The grant means no school in Dumfries and Galloway will be prevented from visiting Ellisland on the grounds of cost. Entrance and teaching materials are free, and we work with teachers to deliver tailored experiences. Last year we even put on a lunchtime Burns supper in our Tam o Shanter barn with Moffat Academy!”

Bookings are open now for the current academic year. They can be made for groups of up to 30 children or spread over time for larger numbers.

Enquiries can be made by filling out this form. https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1JDjXiEy0K244HlgLAic4udDaaYOFLlAzbHS5sWtvoiM/edit

Or by contacting Caitlin MacLeod the Museum Education and Development Lead at [email protected]

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